Take a look at this:
This was one of my blog posts that I published a few years ago. Not bad, right?
Because it is terrible. (“The Beginner’s Guide to Your First Blog Post” LOL!)
At that time, I had no idea what an epic content looks like. I used to be like this:
Fast-forward a few years; my blog posts are getting over 500 shares. I’ve written a couple of guest posts for sites like Kissmetrics, CoSchedule, and Smartblogger.
I’m still the same person, and I use the same words.
So… “What changed?” you may ask.
Yes, looks may have helped me 😉
But keeping that aside, I also worked hard to uncover some mantras that guide rad marketers and bloggers to publish epic stuff.
Success Mantra #1: The Success of Your Content is Directly Proportional to the Topic You Choose
Let’s face it:
Not every blog post topic will get traffic. If your content solves a bigger problem, it is likely to get more traffic; otherwise, it may fail to attract those crucial numbers.
It simply depends on the topic you chose for your content.
Epic Content #1: Vero’s Email Marketing Best Practices
Vero wrote this massive guide, 40 tips for dramatically better emails. The content currently ranks #1 for a competitive keyword “email marketing best practices” (1,600 searches/month).
Not only this, the keyword has a lot of commercial intent. (BTW, commercial intent = the likelihood of someone buying your product).
In short, this keyword is super-valuable for them.
Epic Content #2: Kissmetrics’ 15 Psychological Triggers
This blog post from Kissmetrics currently ranks #1 for psychological triggers. But, what’s interesting is that it was written way back in 2013 when no one was exploring this topic.
Epic Content #3: Snapchat Marketing Playbook from WebProfits
Snapchat is just taking off. People want to know how to use it to market their business using Snapchat.
And the best part?
There are very few content pieces of Snapchat marketing. So Sujan published this mega guide on Snapchat marketing.
That means this guide can be a big resource for WebProfits in the future.
In short, your content must be on something important. And here’s how you can find that “important” topic:
Strategy #1: Use keyword research to reveal less competitive keywords
#1: Go to KeywordTool.io and search for any phrase or topic.
KeywordTool is a perfect tool for generating untapped long-tail keywords that you have never heard of. Unlike other tools, it pulls way more keywords.
So go ahead and type in any topic.
#2: Next up, you want to choose the best from the bunch by looking at the monthly searches, competition, and commercial intent.
For all the information, you’ll have to subscribe to a paid plan. Or you can use any free tool like Google Keywords Planner.
Strategy #2: Solve biggest headaches of your audience
Two ways to find biggest problems of your audience.
First, you can use “What is the #1 problem you’re suffering from?” phrase in your welcome email.
Or second, you can browse forums and community and look for the problems that are most common.
Strategy #3: Talk about the trending topics
What are some of the hottest topics in your industry?
You know, topics like Virtual Reality, 3D Printing that are not explored much. When you create an epic piece of content on these hottest topics, you have invested in the future as these topics will expand rapidly.
Success Mantra #2: What You Do Before Publishing is What Truly Counts
Think of your content as an exam. How would you prepare for it?
Because it’s what matters.
If you have done your homework well, then you know you’ll get fruitful results.
Unlike most of the people who do sketchy things like sending an email like this:
You’ll build meaningful relationships to get your content shared.
In other words:
Instead of “hoping” to get your content shared, you rely on pre-publication strategies that reduce the risk factor of getting your content lost.
Epic Content #4: Social Quants’ Twitter Marketing Guide
Published in 2015, this guide has attracted over 3k shares.
But what’s interesting is that the guide was published by Josue Valles, who had no connections, no money to spend on advertising, and certainly was no expert.
Epic Content #5: Backlinko’s White Hat SEO Guide
Or take this example from Backlinko:
For this article, Brian Dean tactfully implements pre-publication strategies for the relaunch of his upcoming guide.
The relaunch gave this guide a huge boost not only in terms of traffic and shares, but it also jumped from #7 to #4, for the keyword “white hat SEO.”
Epic Content #6: Matthew Barby’s Social Media Strategy
And this guide from Matthew Barby.
For getting early attention, Matthew Barby implements another great strategy for this post. He published a guest post similar to this guide.
Not only did it give a massive influx of traffic, but it also helped the post to get shares and links.
Wanna know the strategies? Let’s dive in:
Step #1: Reach out to influencers
Getting a reply from any famous person is hard. Very hard.
So how do you get them to share your content?
There’s a simple way to do so. You give a nice compliment, ask them for their feedback, and in return, they want to share your content. For that, you need to:
- Find influencers
- Email them
Finding any influencer is a piece of cake if you know your industry well. You can use any of these tools to find the authoritative people in your industry:
Or you can even search for different topics in Google and see which website steals the most keywords.
Next, you will need to email those influencers.
Once they agree, send them a link to your content once it goes live. Or you can also send them a link to the content before it goes live (just to get their feedback).
Step #2: Email people you’ve mentioned in the content
After reaching out to influencers, you want to create a basic outline for your content. In this outline, create a list of resources that will make your content easy to understand.
Then, email these people and tell them that you’re mentioning their resource in your upcoming blog post.
Cool strategy, isn’t it?
Success Mantra #3: In-depth Content Turns More Heads
Writing “long-form content” is a new trend these days.
It’s not the long-form content that attracts more traffic; it’s the depth of the post that decides whether you’re going to get traffic or not.
Epic Content #7: KlientBoost’s Landing Page Optimization
With over 7,000 words, it is the most in-depth post on landing page optimization. And the results are 3.7 social shares plus lots of inbound links.
Epic Content #8: Conversion Sciences’ Multivariate Testing
Multivariate testing is a kind of a big topic. Everyone wants to increase the conversions by following the best practices for testing.
That’s why this post from Brian Massey stands apart. The post summarizes everything you need to know about Multivariate testing starting from “What” to “Why” to “How”.
Epic stuff, right?
Epic Content #9: Value Proposition from ConversionXL
In this in-depth post, Peep Laja laid out exactly how to create your unique value proposition. And what makes this post different from all other content pieces is the research and data used.
That’s why the post is ranking #1 for keyword “value proposition.”
Now that we know what depth looks like, how can you use it to make your content stand out?
Here are steps to create content that goes into the minute details:
Step #1: Research exhaustively for your content
It doesn’t matter how much you know about the topic. If your content can’t answer the questions your customer has in his mind, then your content is not in-depth.
That’s why researching matters. Look for:
#1: What your competitors are writing about
#2: Data you can include
#3: Audience problems in the comments section
Step #2: Outline like a pro
Outlining is the easiest way to plan your content for epic-ness. And doing it is easy:
- Start with writing a working headline.
- Write down questions you’ll be answering with your content.
- Organize all the content under catchy headlines and sub-headlines.
In the end, you should have an outline like this:
Step #3: Make it actionable
Tell how to do, not just what to do. If your content is actionable and any of the visitors take action on your content, then you’ve got one true fan who will always buy your content.
To make your content actionable follow these tips:
#1: Skip the industry jargon and try to explain every term.
#2: Describe your personal processes and tools and how you use them.
#3: Use “Here’s how to do it” phrase more often.
#4: Sprinkle examples throughout your content to support your statements.
Success Mantra #4: A Long-List Post Also Gets the Same Attention
Because of the specificity, list posts always grab attention and traffic. Plus, they help you showcase your expertise and authority.
I don’t know if a list post can help you in that case, but one thing it can do pretty well is attracting tons of visitors.
Here’re some examples:
Epic Content #10: 37 Traffic Generation Strategies from Venngage
This post from Venngage is an excellent example of a perfect list post. In it, Nadya shared the exact recipe that helped Venngage’s blog grow their traffic.
Epic Content #11: Copymonk’s 101 Lead Magnets
Or take this example from Copymonk. It is an epic list containing over 101 lead magnet ideas.
To help visitors find the right type of lead magnet, Danavir categorized this whole list under right sub-headlines.
Epic Content #12: 123 Ways to Optimize Your Site from Nick Kolenda
Finally, in this blog post, Nick Kolenda shared 123 ways to optimize your site.
Not 10. Not 20.
123. This post is the perfect example of a long list post.
So if writing an in-depth post is not for you, then try to write a long list post. Here are three tips to help you write a long list post:
#1: Define your topic
What is your topic?
As I explained above, it’s important for you to do research beforehand and choose a topic that gets more traffic, has less competition, and is more likely to help your readers.
#2: Scribble down your ideas
Time to open your notebook and start writing your list ideas.
Don’t filter them.
It doesn’t matter if an idea is good or bad, just write it down. You can always delete those unimportant ideas later on.
#3: Write and edit your post
Don’t lose your readers’ attention.
You’re writing a list post, that doesn’t mean it’s a simple list. You need to hold visitors’ attention.
Engage with them using questions, images, and opening paragraphs.
At the same time, add value to the post.
Remember, if your content is plain and simple that adds nothing to the topic, then you’re not going to get much success.
Success Mantra #5: Add Your Opinion and Make it Count
What do the most successful people have in common?
It’s something to do with their personality.
They let their personality come out.
Similarly, for getting more sales and building trust, you need to show your personality. The best way to do so is by sharing your opinion with the world.
If something is downright ugly in your niche, tell the world about it.
Epic Content #13: Neil Patel’s Open Challenge
In 2007, Jason Calacanis, the famous Internet entrepreneur, published a post that how he believed SEO was nothing but “malarkey.”
So Neil Patel, a young SEO, wrote a famous blog post for Search Engine Journal. In it, he said:
So to you, Jason, I offer the following challenge: I can take your blog and increase your daily search traffic by a minimum of 10 to 20% after 30 days of putting my changes into effect.
This post not only got attention but also made Neil famous as he was able to lift Jason’s blog traffic.
Epic Content #14: Bloggerjet Guest Post
Tim Soulo from Bloggerjet shared that guest posting doesn’t work like the way people present it. And to support this claim he used data from 239 guest posts.
Sure enough, this post was able to get the attention it deserves.
Epic Content #15: Content Shock from Grow Blog
Or here’s the third route to share your opinion.
Mark Schaefer found that content marketing is not working as it used to do. So he coined the term “Content Shock.”
With the use of scientific studies and some common math, Mark pointed that there is a stage when your content marketing isn’t that impactful.
The term quickly grew so popular that blogs like Buffer and Buzzsumo started talking about it.
I just shared three epic examples. So which route to pick? And how to present your opinion in the most honest way?
Here are three tips that may help you:
#1: Pick a topic
What is the #1 thing that you feel is not right?
If you feel something is downright ugly or you notice a great disparity between the two things, then that is the topic you should write about.
Either way, just collect all your thoughts and pick a topic that is most suitable for you to explain.
#2: Prepare with your evidence
It’s like fighting a case.
You need to collect as much evidence as you can. Writing a purely opinionated post from your gut will surely backfire. That’s why you need to research.
Google is your best friend for this. Just start searching and collect all the data, research, thoughts, stories, beliefs, or anything you can get.
#3: Write your post and be prepared
Time to switch on the writing mode.
Here I want you to let your inner voice come out. Write what everyone else is afraid to speak.
Then, back it up with your research data.
Also, this may be a very good publicity stunt as you’re doing everything from behind your computer, but be prepared for counter-attacks.
Success Mantra #6: Visuals are Processed Much Faster
More than half the surface of the brain is reserved for processing visual information.
Besides that, articles with images get 94% more views.
Simply proves that images are a powerful communicator.
They not only help you to get the attention of a reader but are much faster at communicating your ideas and your message.
So use images in your content.
But don’t be Imageovert. Who is an imageovert?
Instead, use meaningful visuals to help your readers grasp your content. Like these examples:
Epic Content #16: Visme’s Gorgeous Color Schemes
Visme knows the secret behind the high-quality visual content. And this piece of content is a great example to include here.
In it, Nayomi used all sort of high-quality images to illustrate beautiful website color schemes.
Epic Content #17: Dying to Be Barbie Guide from Rehabs
That’s what sets this guide apart from others.
Packed with graphics like this:
This fascinating article contains some eye-opening yet scary statistics collected from over tons of research.
Epic Content #18: Web Speed Optimization by Kinsta
I love this guide.
Page speed is such an important metric when in comes to conversion optimization. And this guide covers everything exceptionally well.
When you land on the page, the first thing you’ll see is a big custom-designed graphic.
And as you scroll down, you keep getting those visually appealing elements.
Everything in this guide is put together brilliantly.
So, how can you write better-designed content? Let’s see:
#1: Combine meaningful stock photos with any text
Not all stock photos are cheesy. There are some that may add meaning to your content.
And you can use these photos as a featured image by adding some text to it.
#2: Use authoritative images
What are the authoritative images?
Screenshots, charts, and graphs are all authoritative images. They are great examples of showing instead of telling.
Plus, they add that authenticity factor to your content.
That’s the reason I love to spray these images all over my blog post:
#3: Create custom graphics to give your branding a boost
Infographics and custom graphics like this are always best to include in your content. They can make your post look professional and branded.
In general, you should aim to include at least a few custom graphics in your content.
There are many tools you can use to create custom graphics:
Success Mantra #7: Supercharge Your Content With Stories
I believe a good story can carry the entire sales process for you.
Even if your offer is not persuasive, you have a weak call-to-action, or you have no copywriting skills.
Don’t believe me? Well, hear this…
In 2012, musician and a songwriter Amanda Palmer launched a campaign on Kickstarter to fund her next album, which would cost $500,000. In 30 days, she raised 1.2 million dollars.
It was a story of her journey as a songwriter.
Or heck, even see these epic content examples that rode on the back of persuasive stories.
Epic Content #19: Life Lessons from Jon Morrow
How many people can say they are unstoppable?
Well, Jon Morrow sure can.
Jon is a guy who can’t move anything except his face, and yet he built a million-dollar business all from using just his voice.
And he outlined everything in this post.
So it was bound to be successful. The post to date has been shared by over 68k people.
Epic Content #20: “What is Content Marketing?” from Bill Widmer
Another epic piece of content!
In this post, Bill shared his journey of becoming a content marketer. This resource is undoubtedly a great resource for Bill as he can attract hundreds of possible clients from it.
Epic Content #21: Startup Journey by Groove
Till now, we have been looking at blog posts sharing a story.
But what about a whole blog on your story?
Well, Groove is doing exactly that. With their startup journey blog, they’re sharing everything from biggest failures to their “aha” growth moments.
Writing a story is also not an easy task. This was how I used to spend my time writing a story:
Because there are certain types of stories that do well in articles. Let’s see all of them:
#1: Your own story
Perhaps the most powerful one is your personal story.
All of the epic examples listed above have their personal story. Heck, even I started this post with a personal story.
Because personal stories are the most trustworthy.
What type of personal story can you include in your post?
#2: The “Yoda” story
Personally, I love Yoda. He was a wise, powerful, and trained Jedi for many years.
Similarly, I want to ask you:
How many people have you helped?
Which client of yours got dramatic results because of your efforts?
Because if you can find those people and add their story to your content, you’ll have that Yoda image in your industry.
#3: The historical story
Were you able to find any personal or “Yoda” story?
Don’t worry if not.
Because there’s also a historical story that you can use.
In this, you highlight a great example from your industry and use their result to your advantage. For instance, these epic content examples I’ve included, all of them are historical stories.
For beginners, this is the perfect story to add.
Yes, it takes extra research.
But the results are more than worth it.
Success Mantra #8: Don’t Forget to Add a CTA
Is your content ready to rock and get some quick traffic?
Perhaps not quite yet.
Because it is missing one important thing: a call-to-action.
To convert a one-time visitor to a full-time reader, you need a CTA.
See, most blogs these days are using content upgrades to convert visitors into email subscribers.
While some others add a simple CTA for joining their newsletter.
Check out these epic examples.
Epic Content #22: Content Growth Model by Grow and Convert
Take this post from Grow and Convert on blog growth.
It contains two CTAs specific to the blog post. Devesh is not asking you to join the “newsletter,” or doing any other boring stuff.
He is offering a free spreadsheet for the whole process explained in the post.
Epic Content #23: Copyblogger’s Scannable Content
I understand that you can’t create a new content upgrade for every article.
In that case, you can promote your email newsletter as well as encourage them to leave a comment in the article.
That’s exactly what Pamela did with this article. In the end, there’s a big CTA to inspire people to join Copyblogger’s upcoming course.
Epic Content #24: Best Fiverr Gigs from Buzzblogger
Or take this article from Kim Roach. In it, she listed 10 best Fiverr Gigs of 2014.
So what could be the CTA?
It’s an offer to download a list of top 20 Fiverr gigs of 2014.
Not only specific, but also small.
How can you make your offer irresistible? Let’s see:
#1: Offer something specific and small
As I mentioned, it’s not the length of your offer that decides how many leads you’ll get. In fact, most of the time, lengthy lead magnets will get far fewer subscribers.
Your lead magnet should encourage people to take action.
And, small things do this better.
So think about it:
What is the #1 thing that you can offer to upgrade your existing content?
If you can’t think of it, just browse the comments section of similar articles, and you’ll get the idea.
#2: Create multiple opt-in points
If your post is longer than 2,000 words, I would recommend you to have at least two opt-in points.
One at the beginning of the post, the other at the end of the post.
It simply makes your reader aware that there is a free thing that they can expect at the end.
Success Mantra #9: Never Stop Promoting It
Your content is looking great. I must say, you’ve spent a lot of time writing and crafting it.
But now, what is your plan of action to drive traffic?
How are you going to attract more website visitors?
“Oh God! This is where he’ll introduce content promotion. I hate sending those emails, tweets, and messages.”
I know the frustration.
But, remember even one visitor counts.
Let me tell you, content promotion is nothing like this.
It’s more of building meaningful relationships with the people who would love to spread the word about your content.
Epic Content #25: SEO Copywriting from Robbie Richards
Robbie Richards hustles a lot to promote his content.
For instance, this blog post on SEO copywriting got 1.5k shares plus 46 comments and a handful of links that he gained only by spending more time on promotion.
Epic Content #26: Promoter’s Actionable Ways to Convert More Customers
Take this example from Promoter.
This article explores all the ways to convert customers into brand promoters. The article attracted over 900 social shares.
Not just because it’s a great piece of content, but also due to content promotion.
Epic Content #27: Healthy Food Recipes from Greatist
This food recipe article from Greatist posted last year has been shared by over 49.7k people.
Out of those 49.7k, 49.3k came through Pinterest.
Tells you something interesting:
What may fail in one channel, doesn’t mean it is bound to be a failure.
Had the guys at Greatist not posted this article on Pinterest, they would’ve lost hundreds of thousands of visitors.
That’s why it’s so crucial to promote your content.
Other than posting your content on various social media channels, I recommend these three important content promotion methods:
Method #1: Share inside communities
Apart from social media and search engines, where does your target audience hang out?
Because this is the only place where they can get answers for their problem, share their successes and failures, and can get feedback.
So your first step after posting your content in social media should be to find these niche communities. For example:
- Hacker News
Then, share your content with them in a way that it is helpful to them.
Method #2: Outreach for building links and shares
You’ve written an epic post. That means you may have mentioned several other people in your niche.
In this step, you’re going to reach out to those people and let them know that you’ve mentioned them.
Also, you’ll reach out to people who have shared and linked to similar articles.
For finding people who have shared or linked to similar articles, you may find these tools helpful:
- Open Site Explorer by Moz
Method #3: Repurpose your content
To keep your content alive, you need to repurpose it.
Repurpose is like adding life back to your old post. Plus, it attracts more traffic without having you to churn out more content.
To repurpose, follow these strategies:
#1: Convert your blog post into a different medium. (Like a video or slideshow)
#2: Edit your blog post and relaunch it.
#3: Post it in content distribution sites. (For example, LinkedIn Pulse, Medium)
#4: Email content syndication sites for publishing your article on their website. (These sites include The Next Web, Entrepreneur)
Create Epic Content to Grow Your Audience
To write epic content start with sneaking into your reader’s mind: What is his problem? Why would he care about your content? What problem your content solves that your competitors can’t?
Once you understand his needs and desires, you’ll need to promote your content.
And these all mantras outline everything you’ll need to do.